CFP – Un/sustainable futures: The hidden abode of the ‘ecological transition’ , SIAC Conference 22-25 September in Rome

Calling for papers for the panel Un/sustainable futures: The hidden abode of the ‘ecological transition’ (see abstract below) at the 3rd SIAC Conference Future: Anthropologies of the Future, the Future of Anthropology, which will be held in Rome on 22-25 September 2021. https://www.siacantropologia.it/panel-en/

Submit a proposal:https://www.siacantropologia.it/call-for-papers/

Deadline: 14 June 2021

*** P21: Un/sustainable futures: The hidden abode of the ‘ecological transition’ ***
https://www.siacantropologia.it/p21/
Convenors:Lorenzo D’Angelo (University of Hamburg)Antonio Maria Pusceddu (Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa)

Discussant: Eleanor Fisher (The Nordic Africa Institute)

Keywords: ecological crisis; extractivism and post-extractivism; human/non-human relations; socio-environmental inequality; sustainability

Over the last few decades, the worldwide spread of climate justice movements contributed to pushing the ecological crisis to the core of public concerns, while academic debates on the Anthropocene, sustainability, extractivism, circular economy, and degrowth have made inroads also into non-academic audiences. All these debates variously address the need for global systemic changes based on alternative economies and ecological relationships between humans and non-humans. However, despite the increasing awareness of living in a damaged planet, the question of how to imaginatively and practically realise alternative sustainable futures remains open.
At institutional levels, national and supra-national policy frameworks emphasise the pressing demand for more environmentally “sustainable” economic systems. The Covid-19 pandemic further boosted the narrative on “the ecological transition” aimed at designing and orienting the “green” conversion of technology for energy and agro-food production, transports, and communications. This restructuring process is already reshaping the growing demand of key “natural” resources, deeply affecting activities such as mining, farming, and fishing. Still, the uneven geography of planetary extraction that materially sustains this process is often disguised by the recursive claim of the digital economy, green procurement, electric mobility, and decarbonization as crucial pillars of the “ecological transition”. Against this background, technological innovations emerge as a way of fixing specific problems leaving unquestioned – or even enhancing – socio-economic and environmental violence and inequalities.
This panel aims to explore the hidden abodes of this “ecological transition”. It invites proposals that examine how processes of “green” restructuring emerge as a potential new frontier of dispossession and accumulation which leave untouched the very premises that brought us to the current situation. In this light, it encourages ethnographically informed proposals that address the contradictions and complexities underlying the social and material construction of un/sustainable futures, and that explore alternative cosmologies or non-capitalist imaginaries and practices of sustainability and just transition.
Possible topics include:
• the social and political construction of resources as “green”, “clean”, or “fair”;
• the role of specific technological innovations in the narrative of “ecological transition”;
• the way policies on sustainability affect livelihoods, labour regimes and environments;
• the environmental moralization of “natural resources” (according to a logic of costs and benefits for the future of the planet);
• non-extractive or “post-extractive” practices and narratives aiming at re-configuring human and non-human relations;
• frictions and conflicts generated by the contradictory entanglements of the “ecological transition”.

CFP, Special issue of Roadsides on sensory dimensions of infrastructure


CALL FOR PAPERS: https://roadsides.net/call-for-papers/

Collection no. 006 – Senses

In the study of critical infrastructure, debates over the visibility and invisibility of sociotechnical systems have privileged the visual over other sensory engagements. While some scholars have argued that material infrastructures remain out of sight until they fail, others have pointed to a spectrum of perceptibility across time and space. And yet, encounters with infrastructure are more than merely visual. Even in its refusal to be seen, infrastructure can be felt and embodied through other, interdependent sensory fields: the vibrating sound of generators, the pungent smell of petroleum, the tactile shock of electricity, the bitter taste of chlorination all convey the functioning or malfunctioning of systems that sustain our daily life. Rather than think along the lines of sensory deprivation then, infrastructure—broken or not—evokes a multiplicity of embodied sensations across the human sensorium. While the senses may thus serve to mediate infrastructure, the meaning of infrastructure is likewise made and mediated through the senses.

 This issue of Roadsides focuses on the sensory dimensions of infrastructure that have yet to be adequately explored and theorized in the literature. The proliferation of scholarship on material infrastructures continues to emphasize the social and the technical over the sensorial, rather than bring these approaches together to study the dense networks that facilitate the provision of goods and resources. This collection seeks to understand the diverse and contingent ways in which we apprehend and make sense of infrastructural worlds through particular modes of sensing. We invite scholars to consider how sensations of infrastructure produce cultural meaning and inspire political action in response to racial, gender, and class inequalities. We especially encourage a non-ocularcentric perspective that addresses one or more of the following questions:

·      In what ways do people “sense” infrastructure and how do those embodied experiences deepen our understanding of human and nonhuman relationships to sociotechnical things?

·      How are social and political subjectivities generated through sensory encounters with infrastructures and their toxicities?

·      What might be gained from bringing the field of sensory studies together with the growing literature on infrastructure?  What new perspectives on infrastructure can a focus on the senses provide?

·      How might an attention to the politics of sensation offer new understandings of citizenship and social belonging or exclusion?

·      How are the senses governed through infrastructure? And conversely how is the state “sensed” through infrastructure

·      What methods might best be deployed to capture the range of human sensory experiences of infrastructure and their significances? 

We invite textual and cross-genre, multimedia submissions that employ innovative and interdisciplinary approaches through the arts and/or other forms of audiovisual material. 

Please send a title, abstract (max. 300 words) and a short biography (max. 200 words) by April 20, 2021 with the subject line “Roadsides: Senses” to cschwenk@ucr.edu. Please also specify the type of contribution that you intend to submit (see Guide for Authors https://roadsides.net/guide-for-authors/). The authors of conditionally invited essays will be notified by April 30, 2021. Final essays are due by May 31, 2021 and will subsequently undergo a “double-open” peer review. Publication of the issue is scheduled for November 2021.

The issue will be edited by Christina Schwenkel (University of California, Riverside; cschwenk@ucr.edu ).

Cover design by Chari Hamratanaphon.

CFP: Digitisation and low-carbon energy transitions, Energy Anthropology Network workshop, 23-24 August 2021

As the world faces the challenge to transition to low-carbon energy futures, digitisation becomes a key issue: decarbonising energy requires the digital process control of energy production, transmission and end use. Diversified electrification across sectors requires real-time digital coordination of distributed energy production, with increasing numbers and types of power plants and enhanced spatial-temporal complexity. To manage energy demand and raise energy efficiency, digital devices can help recursively modulate energy and societal rhythms to facilitate rapid decarbonisation of complex, intertwined systems. At the same time, a low-carbon energy transition that requires electrification and digitisation is accompanied by the risk of significant increases in energy demand, perhaps only partly compensated through energy efficiency gains.

Might the digitisation of renewable energy backfire on envisioned energy transitions? Who digitises energy infrastructure, and what drives decision-making? How does this impact the justice effects of low-carbon energy transitions? In what ways does digitisation intertwine with changes in the lived experience of human interactions with evolving energy systems? What do we gain and lose as we move from fossil fuel dominated infrastructures to hybrid digitised ones, from coal mining to data mining?

This workshop problematizes the emergent inter-linkages of digitisation and energy. We invite engaged energy anthropologists and other interdisciplinary counterparts from geography, science and technology studies and political ecology into a critically constructive forum to discuss digitisation in low-carbon energy transitions.

Please submit a 300-500 word abstract to Katja Müller (katja.mueller@zirs.uni-halle.de) and Siddharth Sareen (siddharth.sareen@uis.no) by 15 December 2020. Include your institutional affiliation and whether you would like to participate remotely or in person – both options will be possible. The Energy Anthropology Network is pleased to hold this workshop at the University of Stavanger during 23-24 August 2021, before the Petrocultures 2021 conference scheduled for 25-27 August 2021 at the Norwegian Petroleum Museum.

Keynote speakers:

23rd August: Digital Energy Futures – Sarah Pink and Yolande Strengers, Monash University

24th August: Mobility justice and transitions to urban electric vehicles – Thomas Birtchnell, Theresa Harada and Gordon Waitt, University of Wollongong

Engaging in Energy Poverty in Early Career (EPEC): CALL FOR APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN

The FPRN is delighted to announce that the first round of our small grants programme opens TODAY! The Engaging with Energy Poverty in Early Career (EPEC) project aims to support Early Career Researchers and Practitioners (within the first 10 years of their career) and post graduate students with an interest in fuel and energy poverty to undertake original research or secondary analysis to advance the field and to bring forward publications (through buying time to complete analysis and write). As you will see from the call guidance, we encourage applications which promote links between academics and practitioners working in the field.  You don’t have to work squarely in fuel or energy poverty to apply but your proposal must relate to the field. We are able to award around 20 grants of up to £2,500 over two rounds- the next will be launched at the same time next year. All of the information you need  to apply can be found on our website at: http://www.fuelpovertyresearch.net/epec/, including suggested topics for applications. Any enquiries should be directed to our Executive Officer for EPEC, Dr. Naomi Brown (naomi@fuelpovertyresearch.net). The closing date for applications is 15th January 2021.  The call is open to fuel poverty researchers and practitioners anywhere in the world. We very much look forward to receiving your applications!

New blog for energy ethics research, ENERGY BLOG

The Energy Ethics Research Group at the University of St Andrews is excited to announce the launch of the ENERGY BLOG (https://energyethics.org.uk/blog/) by .  

In this blog, they share anecdotes from their research, insights from the field, and reflections on issues of energy. The blog reflects the multi-disciplinary aim of the Energy Ethics Research Group to consider the sensibilities, events, processes and materials central to issues of energy.  

If you are interested in contributing to the blog, please do get in touch!  You can reach them at: energyethics@st-andrews.ac.uk. Other details on their website: www.energyethics.org.uk.  

Cfp: Recapturing Resources: Politics of Resourcing and Reconfigurations of Extractivism

Joint Workshop of the dgv Working Group “Europeanization_Globalization. Ethnographies of the Political”, DGSKA Regional Group “Europe,” and the Center for Interdisciplinary Regional Studies (ZIRS) at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg with

Jamie Cross (The University of Edinburgh) and Gisa Weszkalnys (London School of Economics)
25-26 June 2020
Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

The workshop is jointly organized by Jens Adam (University of Göttingen), Katja Müller (MLU Halle), Felix Schiedlowski (MLU Halle), Andreas Streinzer (Goethe University Frankfurt/Main), Jelena Tosic (University St. Gallen) and Asta Vonderau (MLU Halle).

An awareness of climate change and its disastrous effects is by now widespread in media, as well as in academic and political debates. It prompts the question of how we are to achieve a sustainable future. How can today’s societies be reshaped in regard to energy consumption and resource extraction? How may new natural resouces and ways of energy supply be discovered? What political decisions and technological innovations are required? And what social and environmental consequences will such transformations have in various parts of the world?

Given the fact that western “carbon democracies” (Timothy Mitchell) are not only based on, but also shaped by fossile energy and natural resource extractivism, such futures seem to be difficult if not impossible to think of. At the same time, it is obvious that extractivim is not inherently coupled with democratic societies; rather, it flexibly integrates with different political systems to form multiple and changing configurations of capitalism in various places and over changing periods of time. Furthermore, extractivism not only shapes landscapes and lifestyles in capitalist economies, but also lifeworlds and environments which appear – at least at first sight – not as part of capitalist economic zones, as for instance off the grid communities or non-industrial places which still might experience effects of extractivism.

Within anthropology, different schools and methodological approaches including political economy, political ecology, marxist or STS inspired anthropology have dealt with resources in different ways. These lines of thought often existed parallel to each other. Our workshop aims to think through these different perspectives in relational ways. Following Richardson and Weszkalnys (2014), we aim to think beyond a “methodological modernism” which studies natural resources exclusively as isolated entities and commodities within the frame of capitalist economies. In line with Jamie Cross (Cross 2014; Cross and Murray 2018) we want to avoid limiting us to binaries such as commodity/waste, modernization/decline, scarcity/abundance by considering a range of possible conditions and creative activities which fill the space between these assumed extremes, such as modes of care, reuse, and repair. We thus understand natural resources as formed through a relational performance of productive generative powers (including the powers of capitalism and inequality) that exceed formal economic models (Cross, Muray 2018). The workshop focusses on, but is not limited to, the following thematical issues:

1. Resource Materialities: The Becoming of Resource Environments
2. (Re-)configurations of Extractivism and their Temporalities
3. Relational Geographies of Extractivism and Resourcing
4. Politics if Resourcing: Values and Valuations

We cordially invite scholars working on or interested in the above-mentioned questions to join the workshop. This workshop is based on various discussion formats, joint readings and keynotes. Accordingly, workshop participants are not expected to prepare an individual presentation. Interested participants are, however, invited to propose a 5-7 Minutes problem-oriented input based on their own research which may serve as a starting point for joint discussions of the methodological and other questions raised. There is no participation fee to be paid. Travel and accomodation costs cannot be covered by the organizers.

The workshop  will take place at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, it begins on Thursday, June 25th at 1p.m. and ends on Friday 26th of June at 3.30 p.m. The workshop has an interactive format and is based on different forms of discussion and dialogue with the keynote speakers and other participants, as well as on inputs from young scholars research projects and common readings. The detailed program and readings will be sent to registered participants later. 

In order to register please contact:
katja.müller[@]zirs.uni-halle.de
asta.vonderau[@]ethnologie.uni-halle.de

Deadline approaching CFP EASA 2020 (Lisbon July 21-24)!

January 20th is the deadline for paper proposals for EASA 2020 (to be held in Lisbon July 21-24). There are several panels dealing with energy that EAN encourages you to submit to (or share with interested friends) before the deadline.

P020 At the grid edge: homes, neighbourhoods and energy markets (Energy Anthropology Network)

Convenors:

Charlotte Johnson (University College London)

Abhigyan Singh (Delft University of Technology (TU Delft))

Across Europe the grid edge has become a site of innovation, experimentation and legal exception. Extra-regulatory markets such as peer-to-peer energy trading are being trialled. Algorithms and control systems are being piloted to automate household appliances. Communities are becoming virtual power plants. The emerging distributed, decentralised, and off-grid energy systems profoundly challenge the universalist logic of national energy infrastructures and create an urgent role for anthropological knowledge. Anthropologists are entering these spaces to critique and to intervene. They question the assumptions supporting energy market construction and bring attention to non-market perspectives. They interrogate the inter- and intra-household dynamics that are created and destabilised as new flows of energy interact with existing gender, class and power relations. They examine the ethics, moralities, and values that are implicated and invoked. They are working in interdisciplinary ways, using interventionist approaches and are challenging the creation of binaries that pit automation against human control. In this panel we discuss this as a new horizon for anthropological inquiry. One that is provoked by the changing ways energy is being negotiated within homes, circulated through neighbourhoods, and getting entangled in local markets. We invite papers that critique ‘low carbon transition’, provide ethnographic accounts of energy, or offer methodological innovations for collaborative, experimental or interdisciplinary working. We are particularly interested in insights from global south contexts and its cross-cultural comparison with the ‘smart energy’ narrative in the global north. Overall, we invite broad critical engagement with issues raised by doing anthropology at the grid edge.

P037 Mining the Energy Transition: Technology, Resource Chains, and Extractive Encounters

Convenors:

    Nikkie Wiegink (Utrecht University)

    Angela Kronenburg García (UCLouvain (Belgium))

The energy transition from a fossil fuel-based system to a low-carbon future has engendered new technologies and is changing consumer patterns across the world. Less known is that the energy transition is restructuring the extractive sector due to new policies and increasing demand for metals and minerals needed in low-carbon technologies (Addison 2018). This panel explores new horizons by linking two sub-fields of anthropology: the anthropology of energy and the anthropology of mining, and invites papers to address the energy transition from the perspective of its minerals and metals. Where do the minerals come from that power the batteries from electric vehicles and make wind turbines durable? Who are the new global players in the emerging resource chains? And how can we study these global dynamics ethnographically? How do, for example, ‘energy ethics’ (Smith & High 2017) in Europe relate to ‘mining encounters’ (Pijpers & Eriksen 2019) in the global south? And what kinds of contestations do these encounters engender? We aim to build further on the discussion of ‘energopolitics’ (Boyer 2019) to illuminate and politicize the processes that tend to be obscured by the ‘good’ of the energy transition and the urgency to fight climate change. Our intention is to unravel the tensions, interconnectedness, and ambiguities of extractive encounters at different scales. We welcome submissions based on empirical work or methodological reflections that engage with the technologies, policymaking, mining realities, multi-actor encounters, resource chains and resource booms emerging at the intersections of the energy transition and the extractive industries.

P134 Energy production, environment, and human rights in the context of climate change

Convenors:

    Elisabeth Moolenaar (Regis University)

    Ana Isabel Afonso (FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa & CICS.NOVA)

    Dorle Dracklé (University of Bremen)

One of the goals of the “energy anthropology” is placing energy and the environment in cultural perspective, taking into account meaning (making), relationships, value, and agency. Using ethnography/ethnographic research on energy production can open up a dialogue on urgent matters such as environmental justice, human rights and climate change. This panel deals with struggles over energy production, debates over climate change, and the politics of natural resource extraction within broader socio-cultural contexts. Energy landscapes are sites of power and control. These sites frequently face environmental degradation, ecological disasters, and/or social disintegration or upheaval. Sites of energy production are oftentimes located in less urban areas far away from the sites where most energy is consumed, turning the former into “sacrifice zones.” Local (at times indigenous) populations are most vulnerable because they have acquired less entitlement to the natural resources, through law, economic and political systems, and/or processes of colonization. Energy production affects not only environmental quality but also human rights. Without a livable environment, human rights may become either unachievable or meaningless. Energy production intensifies challenges to populations who are unable to claim rights such as the right to self-determination, sovereignty, or mineral or traditional land rights. We welcome papers that locate environmental justice, human rights, and/or climate change within ethnographic explorations of energy production & consumption and natural resource extraction. Papers might investigate these matters for populations affected by energy production, from the perspective of the researcher, and/or as they inform each other.

P062 The political power of energy futures within and beyond Europe

Convenors:

    Charlotte Bruckermann (University of Bergen, Norway)

    Kirsten Endres (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)

    Katja Müller (Halle University)

Debates about climate change have long entered political arenas through diplomacy, bureaucracy and regulations as part of worldwide environmental governance. Although global efforts to foster greener energy increasingly supplement resource extractivism, unfolding protests point to the insufficiencies of current measures. This panel asks what political legitimacies and forms of power become possible through renewables’ development and the greening of energy systems. From top-down policymaking regarding energy access to grassroots calls for climate justice, this panel interrogates the policies and politics surrounding renewable energy, and the unintended consequences and alliances in its delivery. Ethnographic investigations in this panel will combine the intertwined complexities of greening energy with abstractions of political power at various scales. Questions could include: How does political decision-making on energy sources unfold, including expanding resource extraction, extending the grid, or developing renewables? What brute materialities of wires, cables, and power plants come into play? How do historic injustices and exclusionary legacies of extraction, production and consumption affect future energy horizons? Do imperatives of greening energy create new role models in energy matters that shift the focus within and beyond Europe? When do debates about local environmental priorities and energy rights undermine or bolster global climate targets? What new forms of precarity and scarcity do large-scale infrastructural impositions by local or international powerholders entail? We welcome contributions that investigate the contradictions and contestations between the persistence of conventional energy systems and the rise of renewables within the complex operations of political power that affect our anticipated energy futures.

On proposing a paper: https://easaonline.org/conferences/easa2020/cfp

More about the Lisbon EASA conference here

CFP Petrocultures 2020:transformations

26-29 August, Stavanger Norway

We live in turbulent times, and the role of petroleum is at the heart of global and local political debate. Indeed, a transition to a world without oil as its primary source of fuel and energy is needed if we want to reach the international climate targets, but the feasibility, realism and not least timing is strongly debated. Oil will indeed come to an end, but whether the closing date is set by emptied reservoirs, greener alternatives, or political decisions, is still to be determined. Recognizing that the “age of oil” is being challenged, petrocultures2020 invites scholars and artists, journalists and activists, politicians and business actors to critically engage in the debate and the alternatives. The conference will be held at the Norwegian Petroleum Museum and a nearby conference venue in Stavanger, the energy capital of Norway.

For more information and to submit: https://petrocultures2020.wixsite.com/transformations?fbclid=IwAR3FTERFUITzHBqCOELLCFy4J7clwm3w4rjw93Z0VCeFMcR5xh1gx30EULI

Making Post-Extractive Futures in Data- Saturated Worlds

Call for Articles – Edited Volume
Strukturwandel: Post-extraktive Zukunft in datengesättigten Welten / Making Post-Extractive Futures in Data- Saturated Worlds

There is a growing awareness across the world that in order to enable a sustainable future, extractive
industries and economies based on those industries need to be transformed. Accordingly, national
governments, transnational institutions as well as various experts and public initiatives are currently
negotiating scenarios for such transformations in trying to anticipate their social and environmental
effects.

In Germany, for example, the upcoming exit from coal mining is expected to entail a major structural
change, or Strukturwandel for whole regions. According to economic theory, structural change
comprises a shift from agricultural to industrial and to the service sector, and subsequent
transformations for employment, industry organization, financial systems, or income and wealth
distribution. However, the impact of mining goes way beyond the economic sphere, as does structural change. Accordingly, the consequences of exiting mining are expected to be felt not only in the economical and labour sector, but also to significantly change cultural and social life. These transitions are, furthermore, heavily intertwined with institutional change, technological development, and everyday life.

This book aims to investigate the making of post-extractive futures in different social contexts and
from interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives. Using the German notion of Strukturwandel, we suggest a more general take on post-extractive transformation as a fundamental and multidimensional process. Strukturwandel impacts societies in various, also unexpected ways and its effects may be unevenly distributed among locales and actors. Seen as inevitable and complex,
Strukturwandel is, however, also regarded as being malleable and governable in political and public
discourses. This implies the possibility and even necessity of engagement, participation, and
collaboration of public as well as political and economic actors.

Digitization is one of these powerful future scenarios, supposedly applicable to former mining and
other post-industrial areas. Visions of information technologies enabling connected and integrated
futures for currently suspended and closed down regions is elaborated upon in political and
technological discourse, such as, for instance, plans of turning former industrial buildings into digital
innovation labs and science parks, or former mining areas into “smart regions” and testfields for ITbased services. Digitization is even expected to modernize “old” industries, enabling them to survive the industrial transition by means of virtualization (“industry 4.0”). Given the popular image of IT technologies as inclusive, future-oriented and environmentally friendly, this contemporary
postindustrial scenario is often welcomed by broader publics and the media.

At the same time, it can be argued that digitization with its high penetration of all aspects of society is
causing rather than cushioning structural change, and heavily impacting social life and natural
environment. The expanding energy-consuming infrastructures and industries needed to implement
digital innovation might as well lead to environmental damages and new inequalities, related to the
uneven distribution of connectivity and technological intelligence.

In this book, we are especially interested in how visions of Stukturwandel, exit from mining,
connectivity and IT-based innovation are being integrated into predictive models and scenarios of the future, and how these are implemented. How is knowledge about the future in/of post-extractive datasaturated worlds produced, distributed, and applied? And how are IT-related needs of energy and
natural resources calculated and legitimized in regard to an anticipated (smart and sustainable) society of the future?

We invite contributions that investigate Strukturwandel and the making of post-extractive futures
either in relation to mining or (and) in relation to digitization. Essays can comprise, but are not limited to, questions of the sociocultural impact of Strukturwandel, its process and navigation, sectoral interlinkages, lived experiences, political necessities, and the moral, technical and economic challenges and chances related to it. Case studies from different locales and (post-)industrial sites are welcome.

In methodological terms, we are interested in going beyond the traditional divides of old and new
industries, and to think through different infrastructural-industrial developments with their spatial and temporal dimensions, bearing in mind that even breaks can be regarded as specific forms of relation.

We welcome contributions in both English and German language.
Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words by December 31st, 2019 to katja.mueller@zirs.uni-halle.de or asta.vonderau@ethnologie.uni-halle.de.

MSc Energy and Society now recruiting

Climate change and sustainable development targets mean we must change our global energy systems and our relationship to energy. Durham University’s MSc in Energy and Society addresses the complex challenges of changing global and local energy systems through a ‘socio-technical’ approach to understanding energy. It introduces diverse technological approaches, and brings you the knowledge and intellectual tools you need to analyse the role of energy in the world, the politics of energy change and the consequences of changing approaches.

The MSc in Energy and Society prepares you for a career in decarbonising energy systems. Whether that is by working with industry to redesign energy services, helping consumers rethink their energy practices, or developing climate-appropriate policies, the MSc gives you the grounding you need to make a difference.

Apply now via: www.dur.ac.uk/anthropology/postgraduatestudy/taughtprogrammes/mscenergyandsociety/

and find more informal information on the course blog: ensocuk.wordpress.com

CFP ERQ 2020: Ethnographies of energy production in times of transition

8th Ethnography and Qualitative Research Conference

University of Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy

3-6 June 2020

Ethnographies of energy production in times of transition

Panel Organizers : Noura AlKhalili (Lund University) and Gloria Pessina (Politecnico di Milano)

We invite contributions on cases from the Global South and North. If you are interested to join our panel, please send an abstract (max 1000 words) including the title of the paper and your affiliation to noura.alkhalili@keg.lu.se, gloria.pessina@polimi.it and erq.conference@unibg.it by January 10th 2020. For more detailed info on submission check this link: http://www.etnografiaricercaqualitativa.it/how-to-submit

Panel Description

Keywords: electric power stations; energy transition; large-scale renewable energy plants; energy justice; workplace ethnographies.

Emerging disciplines such as the Energy Humanities (Szeman & Boyer 2017) are currently showing the need to overcome strict scientific boundaries in order to grasp the complexity of the current socio-economic and ecological transition at multiple geographical scales. It is in this framework that recent studies on energy ethnography have taken place (Smith & High 2017; Goodman 2018), mostly with the aim of shedding light on the social and material dimension of apparently invisible energy infrastructures. Only few studies adopted an ethnographic approach to research on energy production places (Bougleux 2012), be it traditional workplaces such as thermoelectric (or nuclear) power stations or more recently renewable energy power plants and territories, probably due to the difficulty of accessing the field. Several researches engaged with the ethnography of energy consumption, investigating values, practices and habits of the end-users (Strauss et. al 2013), while others paid more attention to the impacts on everyday life of mineral extraction and energy production, especially in the Global South (Sawyer 2014; Howe & Boyer 2016).

Lately, emerging research is tackling EU’s decarbonisation strategy and mitigation of climate change through investigating transition to renewable energies. Specifically, the Saharan desert of North Africa is perceived as a vast untapped supply of nearby renewable energy. Equally, North African countries are highly interested in energy transitions to renewables for both domestic use and export. There is not much research around large-scale renewable energy production schemes and only a few studies mention issues of land ownership and the presence of communities in these areas (Rignall 2016).

Clearly, more empirical research – and ethnographic – is needed to focus on culture, power, social relations and the people’s lived experiences in and around energy production plants. Ethnography is crucial so to bring to the fore elements such as gender differences and other less visible power relations in the context of study. It also helps to contextualize the ontological positions and subjectivities of people and gives local meaning to the relation to technology, society and environment. Therefore, this call for papers invites either ethnographic or qualitative contributions that deal with themes around energy transition and climate justice, highlighting aspects related to communities around both renewable and traditional energy production plants, issues of land enclosures, manufacturing processes, local participation for just energy production and transfer.

Open questions:

1. How is energy produced in times of ecological transition and economic crisis?

2. How can energy production work be observed and described by ethnographers?

3. What is the role of the human work in traditional and renewable energy production? How does it interact with machine work?

4. Which power relations characterize traditional energy production workplaces (e.g. thermoelectric power stations) and renewable energy production territories (e.g. solar power plants)?

5. Which forms of local resistance to new energy production plants or to the dismantling of underused traditional plants can be recognized?

6. To what extent do energy production workplaces and territories shed light on the current socio-economic conjuncture?

7. Which territories are currently emerging in the global energy production geography? Which are declining?

8. To what extent large-scale renewable energy production schemes are bound to be a new form of exploitation?

References

Bougleux E., 2012,Soggetti egemoni e saperi subalterni. Etnografia in una multinazionale del settore dell’energia, Firenze: Nardini.

Goodman J., 2018, “Researching climate crisis and energy transition: Some issues for ethnography”,Energy Research & Social Science, 45: 340-347.

Howe C., Boyer D., 2016, “Aeolian extractivism and community win in Southern Mexico”,Public Culture, 28 (2(79)): 215-235.

Huber M., 2015, “Energy and social power. From political ecology to the ecology of politics”. In: Perreault T., Bridge G., Mac Carthy J. (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Political Ecology, Oxon: Routledge.

Rignall, K., 2016, “Solar Power, State Power, and the Politics of Energy Transition in Pre-Saharan Morocco”, Environment and Planning A, 48(3):540–557.

Sawyer S., 2014, Crude Chronicles. Indigenous Politics, Multinational Oil, and Neoliberalism in Ecuador, Durham: Duke University Press.

Smith J., High M.M., 2017, “Exploring the anthropology of energy: Ethnography, energy and ethics”,Energy Research & Social Science, 30: 1-6. 

Strauss S., Rupp S., Love T., 2013,Cultures of Energy: Power, Practices, Technologies, London: Routledge.

Szeman I., Boyer D., 2017, Energy Humanities: An Anthology, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

Cfp: EASA 2020 conference

16th EASA Biennial Conference
New anthropological horizons in and beyond Europe
21-24 July 2020 in Lisbon
ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon and ICS-Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon

P020 At the grid edge: homes, neighbourhoods and energy markets (Energy Anthropology Network)

Convenors: Charlotte Johnson (University College London), Abhigyan Singh (Delft University of Technology (TU Delft))

Across Europe the grid edge has become a site of innovation, experimentation and legal exception. Extra-regulatory markets such as peer-to-peer energy trading are being trialled. Algorithms and control systems are being piloted to automate household appliances. Communities are becoming virtual power plants. The emerging distributed, decentralised, and off-grid energy systems profoundly challenge the universalist logic of national energy infrastructures and create an urgent role for anthropological knowledge. Anthropologists are entering these spaces to critique and to intervene. They question the assumptions supporting energy market construction and bring attention to non-market perspectives. They interrogate the inter- and intra-household dynamics that are created and destabilised as new flows of energy interact with existing gender, class and power relations. They examine the ethics, moralities, and values that are implicated and invoked. They are working in interdisciplinary ways, using interventionist approaches and are challenging the creation of binaries that pit automation against human control. In this panel we discuss this as a new horizon for anthropological inquiry. One that is provoked by the changing ways energy is being negotiated within homes, circulated through neighbourhoods, and getting entangled in local markets. We invite papers that critique ‘low carbon transition’, provide ethnographic accounts of energy, or offer methodological innovations for collaborative, experimental or interdisciplinary working. We are particularly interested in insights from global south contexts and its cross-cultural comparison with the ‘smart energy’ narrative in the global north. Overall, we invite broad critical engagement with issues raised by doing anthropology at the grid edge.

P037 Mining the Energy Transition: Technology, Resource Chains, and Extractive Encounters

Convenors:     Nikkie Wiegink (Utrecht University),     Angela Kronenburg García (UCLouvain (Belgium))

The energy transition from a fossil fuel-based system to a low-carbon future has engendered new technologies and is changing consumer patterns across the world. Less known is that the energy transition is restructuring the extractive sector due to new policies and increasing demand for metals and minerals needed in low-carbon technologies (Addison 2018). This panel explores new horizons by linking two sub-fields of anthropology: the anthropology of energy and the anthropology of mining, and invites papers to address the energy transition from the perspective of its minerals and metals. Where do the minerals come from that power the batteries from electric vehicles and make wind turbines durable? Who are the new global players in the emerging resource chains? And how can we study these global dynamics ethnographically? How do, for example, ‘energy ethics’ (Smith & High 2017) in Europe relate to ‘mining encounters’ (Pijpers & Eriksen 2019) in the global south? And what kinds of contestations do these encounters engender? We aim to build further on the discussion of ‘energopolitics’ (Boyer 2019) to illuminate and politicize the processes that tend to be obscured by the ‘good’ of the energy transition and the urgency to fight climate change. Our intention is to unravel the tensions, interconnectedness, and ambiguities of extractive encounters at different scales. We welcome submissions based on empirical work or methodological reflections that engage with the technologies, policymaking, mining realities, multi-actor encounters, resource chains and resource booms emerging at the intersections of the energy transition and the extractive industries.

P134 Energy production, environment, and human rights in the context of climate change

Convenors:     Elisabeth Moolenaar (Regis University),     Ana Isabel Afonso (FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa & CICS.NOVA),     Dorle Dracklé (University of Bremen)

One of the goals of the “energy anthropology” is placing energy and the environment in cultural perspective, taking into account meaning (making), relationships, value, and agency. Using ethnography/ethnographic research on energy production can open up a dialogue on urgent matters such as environmental justice, human rights and climate change. This panel deals with struggles over energy production, debates over climate change, and the politics of natural resource extraction within broader socio-cultural contexts. Energy landscapes are sites of power and control. These sites frequently face environmental degradation, ecological disasters, and/or social disintegration or upheaval. Sites of energy production are oftentimes located in less urban areas far away from the sites where most energy is consumed, turning the former into “sacrifice zones.” Local (at times indigenous) populations are most vulnerable because they have acquired less entitlement to the natural resources, through law, economic and political systems, and/or processes of colonization. Energy production affects not only environmental quality but also human rights. Without a livable environment, human rights may become either unachievable or meaningless. Energy production intensifies challenges to populations who are unable to claim rights such as the right to self-determination, sovereignty, or mineral or traditional land rights. We welcome papers that locate environmental justice, human rights, and/or climate change within ethnographic explorations of energy production & consumption and natural resource extraction. Papers might investigate these matters for populations affected by energy production, from the perspective of the researcher, and/or as they inform each other.

P062 The political power of energy futures within and beyond Europe

Convenors:     Charlotte Bruckermann (University of Bergen, Norway),     Kirsten Endres (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology),     Katja Müller (Halle University)

Debates about climate change have long entered political arenas through diplomacy, bureaucracy and regulations as part of worldwide environmental governance. Although global efforts to foster greener energy increasingly supplement resource extractivism, unfolding protests point to the insufficiencies of current measures. This panel asks what political legitimacies and forms of power become possible through renewables’ development and the greening of energy systems. From top-down policymaking regarding energy access to grassroots calls for climate justice, this panel interrogates the policies and politics surrounding renewable energy, and the unintended consequences and alliances in its delivery. Ethnographic investigations in this panel will combine the intertwined complexities of greening energy with abstractions of political power at various scales. Questions could include: How does political decision-making on energy sources unfold, including expanding resource extraction, extending the grid, or developing renewables? What brute materialities of wires, cables, and power plants come into play? How do historic injustices and exclusionary legacies of extraction, production and consumption affect future energy horizons? Do imperatives of greening energy create new role models in energy matters that shift the focus within and beyond Europe? When do debates about local environmental priorities and energy rights undermine or bolster global climate targets? What new forms of precarity and scarcity do large-scale infrastructural impositions by local or international powerholders entail? We welcome contributions that investigate the contradictions and contestations between the persistence of conventional energy systems and the rise of renewables within the complex operations of political power that affect our anticipated energy futures.

Cfp: Taking care of energy infrastructures

All energy sessions here

C.7 Taking care of energy infrastructures

Loloum, Tristan, Fürst, Moritz, Bovet, Alain (Université de Lausanne)

The energy transition is often framed in terms of a technological challenge and an engineering problem, involving innovative design, efficient planning, and effective optimization of energy infrastructures and the built environment. This innovation-centric view tends to neglect the fact that ‘change’ often occurs once energy systems are already in place, through incremental adaptations, additions and enhancements. The focus on engineers, planners and designers also puts aside the many actors in charge of operating and maintaining such systems on a daily basis: grid operators, HVAC technicians, facility managers, installers, caretakers, etc.

Drawing on authors like Maria Puig de la Bellacasa (2017), Dona Haraway (2016) and Bruno Latour (2013), we argue that fixing ‘things’ and taking care of energy infrastructure implies more than maintaining their technical functioning: it means caring for the people who use them and their environments, and it requires active engagement, social skills and a sense of concern towards associations between humans and non-humans. The session therefore extends on current debates in science and technology studies and energy social science that (I) observe how classical dichotomies (e.g. between planning and operation, professionals and users, engineers and technicians, people and machines) are maintained, and sometimes contested and reconfigured; (II) investigate energy infrastructure and energy transition at the level of everyday lay and professional care-taking activities, i.e. considering energy practices as situated and culturally embedded realities rather than in terms of dominant paradigms of technological innovation and economic rationality.


This panel session invites contributors from all disciplinary horizons, looking at energy infrastructure “from below and within”, focusing on operation routines, control rooms, repair and maintenance, incremental improvements, “middle actors” (technicians, installers, controllers, caretakers, facility managers), disruption, practices of daily-use and socio-technical encounters. We particularly encourage prospective participants to emphasize the richness of empirical material in their presentations, exhibit visual and/or audio data, or even material objects that can form a basis for a fruitful discussion. If appropriate conditions are in place, the session will be introduced or followed up by a quick tour of the conference venue’s infrastructural backstage and a discussion with one of the building’s facility managers in order to get a concrete grasp of what energy infrastructure is, and what taking care of it actually entails.

The abstract needs to be submitted using the online form. It should not exceed 500 words, max. 5 keywords. Choose the number of the session in which your presentation should be included (Thematic field “Towards Low-Carbon Energy Systems”; session “C.7 Taking care of energy infrastructures”).

Submission deadline for abstracts is January 20, 2020.

KEYWORDS: energy infrastructure, care, operation, repair & maintenance, energy practices

CFP Society for Applied Anthropology 80th Annual Meeting, Albuquerque March 17-21, 2020

ExtrACTION and Environment TIG – CALL FOR SESSIONS, PRESENTATIONS, AND POSTERS

Society for Applied Anthropology 80th Annual Meeting

“Cultural Citizenship and Diversity in Complex Societies

The SfAA’s ExtrACTION and Environment topical interest group (TIG) welcomes organized sessions, individual papers, posters, and more* that deal with any aspect of social scientific engagement with resource extraction, environmental politics and activism, and human-environment relationships. We are delighted to include sessions you organize but can also place individually-submitted abstracts into an appropriate session.  We look forward to seeing you!

The theme for the 2020 SfAA meeting is “Cultural Citizenship and Diversity in Complex Societies.” As one of the most interesting—and most imperative—dimensions of contemporary cultural citizenship, we anticipate a stimulating set of presentations and conversations around key environmental themes.

*Beyond the usual conference papers, we welcome community studies, practical workshops, film screenings, poster presentations, theoretical and ethical analyses, poetry, plays and puppet shows, site tours, and more!

HOW TO GET INVOLVED:

OPTION 1: It’s not too late to organize a session! Take ownership of a topic and invite others to participate. You can ask people you know or send out a “call for papers” on the ExtrACTION listserv (extraction-TIG@googlegroups.com) or another relevant list. All you need is a 100-word abstract for the session. Paper authors will supply their own 100-word abstracts.

OPTION 2: Propose an individual presentation of your work. All you need is a 100-word abstract. We’ll form the actual sessions.  For those who wish to submit individual papers, there will be a button to click to indicate the TIG cluster you want to review your submission within the SfAA submission web portal. Just select ExtrACTION and Environment!

All sessions and papers should be submitted through the SfAA’s website, which can be found at https://www.appliedanthro.org/annual-meeting.  The deadline for submissions is October 15. 

EAN call for panel

The Call for Panels for the 16th EASA Biennial Conference “New anthropological horizons in and beyond Europe” has been launched.

The EASA conference will be held from 21-24 July, 2020 at the ISCTE-Lisbon University Institute and ICS-Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon.

The official deadline for the call for panels is October 21, 2019. This means we need to have panel abstracts ready well in advance of this date. To have your panel listed as network-affiliated panel, it is necessary to first check with the EAN convenors and this year we will pick out of the proposals the official EAN panel and will affiliate the other selected panel. In the past, we have found network affiliated panels are more likely to be successful than individual submissions, so we’d encourage you to consider submitting an official EAN panel.

Many suggested themes of the conference are highly relevant to issues within energy research. You can find more details about the theme here.

Please send your panel suggestions to the EAN to Simone Abram simone.abram[at]durham.ac.uk Elisabeth Moolenaar emoolenaar[at]regis.edu and Nathalie Ortar nathalie.ortar[at]entpe.fr by October 6th. This will ensure we have time to make editorial suggestions as well as find collaborators for your panel suggestion (if need be). If you have any ideas but are unsure how to go about refining them into a panel abstract, by all means contact us to discuss the issue further.

Remember we are not responsible for the decisions of EASA, however we are offering advice and discussion of your panel ideas in order to strengthen the argument. This way we will also have an overview whether panels with similar topics are being proposed.

Please have a look at the conference webpage regarding panel formats, submission rules and other useful info. For those of you who haven’t submitted before. The guidelines state the following:

Submission rules:

  *   Panels should have at least two co-convenors (panel organisers) from different institutions, and ideally from different countries.

  *   At least one of the convenors must have a PhD degree.

  *   Delegates (those attending the conference) may only make one presentation each. It is allowed to be a co-author on additional papers if you are not the one presenting them. In addition, a delegate may also convene once (be that a plenary, panel, lab or roundtable) and be a discussant or a chair in one plenary session, panel, or roundtable. Roundtable participation counts as being a discussant, not a presenter.

  *   All convenors and presenters must be members of EASA (during 2020), and pay their subscription before the conference. You need not conform to this rule when making your proposal, but must address it after your proposal has been accepted.

  *   EASA requires all accepted panels to be open to paper proposals through the website: panels should not be organised as ‘closed’ sessions, although roundtables can be.

  *   When proposing an EASA network panel, please inform the network convenors of your proposal before submitting it. The network name must be appended to the title of the proposed panel. e.g. Latest research in soul kitchens [Anthropology of Food Network].

  *   All attending the conference, including panel convenors, paper presenters, discussants and chairs, will need to register and pay to attend

Selection process:

The Scientific Committee of EASA2020 will decide which proposals to accept based on:

a) compliance with ‘the rules’

b) on clarity, cohesion, reliability and academic rigour (quality) The Scientific Committee will pay attention to different anthropological traditions and topics.

  *   EASA2020 can host a maximum of 2000 delegates, which from experience suggests approximately 180 panels. This is likely to be below 50% of the number of proposals received.

  *   All proposals must be made via the online form.

  *   Proposals should consist of a panel title, a short description of <300 characters, and an abstract of 250 words.

  *   The proposal may also include the names of any chairs or discussants, although these can be added subsequently using the login environment, Cocoa. Please use the convention of Firstname Lastname (Institution). (Where convenors will take these roles, you need not re-enter their names.)